Re: Latvian Language Older Than Lithuanian?
- From: holman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Eugene Holman)
- Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2006 15:58:21 +0300
In article <%5Vfg.3439$EF1.254108@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "«Pas de deux»"
"Eugene Holman" <holman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
True enough. But Indo-European had a relatively complex structure, and
is of interest to people interested in different types of language
structures to see it retained more or less intact in Lithuanian. Why
should people have such interests? In the most general sense it
something about human cognitive capacities and ingenuity. As an
advantage it keeps people like Gintautas and myself off the streets
out of trouble :-)
There are many non-IE languages such as Finnish, Arabic or Japanese -
did anybody bother to look into how "old" they are?
Of course. Every major language has experts who have studied its
I myself am quite famiiar with the history of Finnish and have at
basic knowledge of the history of both Arabic and Japanese.
I did a whole year of Arabic at university once upon a time, but
unfortunately I have never had the opportunity to pursue this interest
further. I think Arabic is an extremely groovy language and would like
to learn a lot more. Who knows, when I am living in Lietuva I will be a
lot closer to (e.g.) Lebanon, so maybe I can spend a few months there at
some stage ...
My former colleague, Faruk Abu Chacra, the now retired former lecturer in
Arabic at the University of Helsinki
(http://www.helsinki.fi/lehdet/uh/401n.htm), has produced an excellent
introduction to Arabic with an accompaning CD very important for
learning the sounds of that language. It is called *Arabic around the
World* and was printed in Estonia (http://arabic.ddn.ee/index2.html), for
which reason it is widely on sale in the Baltic countries and relatively
One snippet: The Arabic interrogative particle is "Hal ... ?",
remarkably similar to Lithuanian "Ar ... ?" and used in the same way
(like Latvian "Vai .. ?"). Does Finno-Ugric have somthing similar, by
Sa jood õlut. 'You drink/are drinking beer.'
Kas sa jood õlut? 'Do you drink/are you drinking beer?.'
Finnish uses a similar strategy, but has an enclitic suffix, -ko/-kö,
rather than a particle. It has obligatory Germanic-like subject/predicate
inversion for unmarked questions, and focused-word initial word order for
Sinä juot olutta. 'You drink/are drinking beer.'
Juotko sinä olutta? 'Do you drink/are you drinking beer?.'
Sinäkö juot olutta? 'Is it you who drinks/is drinking beer?'
Oluttako sinä juot? 'Is it beer that you drink/are drinking?'
Other Finno-Ugric languages have different strategies, with Hungarian
having no morphological or syntactic marking of yes/no questions at all,
but entrusting the task of differentiating the two utterances to
contrastive intonation patterns:
Iszol sört. 'You drink/are drinking beer.'
Iszol sört? 'Do you drink/are you drinking beer?.'
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